Professional Communication 101: Phone and Email Etiquette

Professional Communication 101: Phone and Email Etiquette

For every candidate interviewed, a recruiter or hiring manager has a check list. Does this person have relevant experience? Check. Is their resume/cover letter error-free and clean cut? Check.

If you make it through this first round of checks, congratulations! But there’s more. Now they need to be impressed by more than just your qualifications – they need to be impressed by YOU.  It is important to be friendly, well-spoken and polite every time you communicate with a potential employer, including over the phone and via email. To master the art of professional communication, follow these rules of phone and email etiquette:

Phone etiquette

Speak clearly…

Do not mumble or speak too quickly. You don’t want a recruiter to have to struggle to understand you and become frustrated. This might also cause a recruiter to question how suitable you are for a polished, corporate setting.

P.S. Go to a quiet room to avoid loud back ground noises and disruptions.

Be polite…

Even if you are frustrated or calling about an unpleasant matter, using a rude tone or raising your voice is never a good idea. People are far less willing to work with you or make accommodations when they sense any kind of anger. As my mom always says, kill them with kindness!

P.S. Try to be patient. It’s frustrating to feel like a recruiter/hiring manager isn’t following up with you in a timely manner, but they have not forgotten about you. Badgering them with phone calls and getting upset is not going to speed up the process. In fact, it might make them less willing to work with you!

Listen to your voicemail messages…

If you have a missed phone call, listen to the voicemail message BEFORE returning the call. Most of the time, your call will be answered by a receptionist. If you call back without knowing who called or what the call was regarding, it is difficult and inconvenient for the receptionist to connect you to the right person. You should enter every conversation with as much information as possible and a clear goal in mind.

Customize your voicemail…

Your voicemail greeting should be personalized! A custom voicemail will reassure potential employers that your phone number is active as well as give them an opportunity to hear how well-spoken and professional you are.

Email etiquette

Check for grammatical errors…

Sending an email with spelling errors and bad punctuation makes you seem unpolished and unprofessional. Proofread all your messages before clicking send to avoid any embarrassing mistakes!

Follow instructions…

Do not respond to an email with a phone call unless instructed. Recruiters are on phone calls all day and it can be frustrating when someone calls unexpectedly, especially to discuss a matter that could have been easily and quickly communicated via email.

Avoid using slang…

You are not joking around with a friend over drinks. You are speaking with a potential employer who could make or break your chances of landing a job.

Use a professional email address and signature…

Avoid any use of sassy nicknames, innuendo, slang, or the like within your email address. Stick to the basics (first name, last name, numbers, etc.). The same rules apply for your email signature. Use your full name and relevant contact information.

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